Examples Of Liminality In Bildungsroman

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Amy Gaffney, 14734045 ENG10090 Coming of Age Final Essay Whether orphans or adventurers, many characters in the course texts have a troubled relation to home and society. Comparing two texts, consider the representation of “outsider” figures. On the Outside Looking in: Liminality in Bildungsroman To be liminal is, according to the Oxford English Dictionary in a cultural anthropologic sense “of or relating to a transitional or intermediate state between culturally defined stages of a person's life, especially as marked by a ritual or rite of passage; characterized by liminality.” Being liminal can also be seen as being the outsider, the threat to what is considered the norm. According to Giddens, norms are “rules of behaviour that reflect or embody a culture’s value, either prescribing a given type of behaviour or forbidding it.” (1065). These norms operating within a society can be either explicit or implicit. Transgressing norms can be seen as a deviance, however, deviating from the norm may yield both negative and positive results. In many bildungsroman liminality is essential to the characters development. Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, in which both the main characters of Lyra and Jeanette respectively are of a liminal nature,…show more content…
Further episodes where her religious education impedes upon her acceptance at school are shown, and finally Jeanette comes to the conclusion that “It was obvious where I belonged. Ten more years and I could go to missionary school.” (Winterson, 56). She understands that she will never be accepted into school society, and concretes her future liminality by knowing that missionary school is her destiny. Her mother’s advice that “We are called to be apart,” (Winterson, 56) further highlights their isolation from school

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